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S&Ds: The EU summit must breathe new energy into the enlargement process!

Date

23 Jun 2022

Sections

Enlargement

Ahead of the EU summit on Thursday and Friday, the Socialists and Democrats will today in the plenary call on the 27 EU heads of states and governments to grant EU candidate status to Ukraine, as a political signal of solidarity with the brave people of Ukraine defending their country.

The S&Ds also call on the European Council to swiftly decide on the EU membership applications of the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, and to clearly determine the conditions for their EU membership. They must be given clear and unmistakable political signals in support of their European futures too.

Finally, the S&Ds insist that the EU must not forget about the Western Balkans, who were promised a European future almost 20 years ago. The S&Ds urge the European Council to finally overcome the stalemate in the North Macedonia and Albania accession processes, and schedule the first Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) to formally start accession negotiations talks with both countries without further delay.

S&D vice-president Pedro Marques MEP said:

“For 119 days the brave people of Ukraine have been defending their country, with an impressive determination, against the brutal Russian war of aggression. They are fighting for freedom, independence and a European future. They are also fighting for our European values. We must not disappoint them!  By granting Ukraine EU candidate status, we will show them through our actions, not just words, that we stand together with them in that horrible war. It will also send a clear message to the Kremlin. Ukrainians have the right to choose their own alliances and to live in a free, democratic and prosperous country.

"Moldova and Georgia’s aspirations for a European future also have to be met. Their future also lies in the European Union. Just like for Ukraine, the European Council must equally swiftly decide on their EU membership applications and determine the conditions for their EU membership, giving a clear and unequivocal European perspective."

Tonino Picula MEP, the S&D spokesperson on foreign affairs, added:

“The S&D Group has always been a strong advocate of the enlargement process, considering it to be an engine for positive change, promoting peace, democracy and economic prosperity in our close neighbourhood. But it must be properly conducted, based on the relevant procedures and the fulfilment of EU membership criteria. We must draw lessons from the mistakes committed in the past and put the rule of law and democratic reforms at the heart of the process!

“While fully supporting clear steps on the enlargement process in the EU’s Eastern neighbourhood, we must not forget about the countries in the Western Balkan region who were promised many years ago that they would one day join our European family. In the light of Russia’s war against Ukraine, the EU’s recommitment to the Western Balkans is more urgent than ever. We urge EU leaders to take the decision on scheduling an IGC with Skopje and Tirana. Further delays will harm the EU’s credibility and make the region more vulnerable to interference from hostile third countries.

“I really hope that after years of fatigue, the summit will be an opportunity to breathe new energy into the enlargement process as a whole!”

Note to editors

Read the letter sent by the S&Ds to European Council President Michel ahead of the Summit.

 

 

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